French entrepreneur and telecoms gadfly Xavier Niel had a lot to say about the France’s telecommunications and publishing sectors when he met with 17 AAPA members on June 2.


The off-the-record event was hosted by Mr. Niel at the Parisian headquarters of Iliad, the parent company of Free, a mobile phone company and internet provider that has challenged the hold of major French telecoms groups since it was founded in 1999.


Mr. Niel spent some time addressing the issues facing Le Monde, in which he has a one-third shareholding, and other media ventures in which he has invested, such as Mediapart, Rue 89 and the Nouvel Observateur.


He also touched on his favorite projects away from the purely corporate milieu, notably his activity as a “business angel” to encourage startups, and his recently created information technology school called 42. The aim of 42, he said, is to make it possible for all bright young people to get a solid education in IT regardless of their social background, because tuition is totally free.


-David Pearson